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CrisisWatch Database

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Colombia

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

Congressional elections took place 9 March amid high abstention rate, allegations of fraud and election of 69 candidates allegedly linked to illegal armed actors, but relatively few security incidents overall. Polls brought no radical change in balance of political forces; preliminary results showed President Santos’ ruling coalition lost clout but still boasts strong majority in Lower House (92/166 votes) and remains well positioned in Senate (47/102 votes); opposition Democratic Centre led by former President Uribe came 2nd in Senate (19 votes). Santos 19 March signed decree removing Bogotá mayor and former M-19 guerrilla Gustavo Petro from office, executing highly controversial decision of Inspector General; move came day after Inter American Human Rights Commission (IACHR) asked govt to suspend dismissal; govt argued IACHR measures non-binding. 22nd cycle of peace talks between govt and FARC ended 30 March; parties optimistic to conclude discussions on illegal drugs “soon”. FARC 21 March acknowledged responsibility for earlier killing of 2 policemen in Tumaco (Nariño), but 26 March refused to hand over perpetrators. National Liberation Army (ELN) 6 March liberated in Antioquia police official kidnapped in Feb; 17 March reiterated its willingness to engage in new talks. Santos 26 March said peace process had sufficiently matured to re-activate National Peace Council. Social movements participating in “National Agrarian Summit” 16 March threatened new strike for early May. Santos 6 March announced major security force intervention in Buenaventura (Valle) to combat escalating criminal violence.

Venezuela

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

Despite announcement by President Maduro and other leading govt members that protest movement launched early Feb (which they term a “coup”) has been defeated, protests continued: most barricades rebuilt, no sign of protesters’ determination wavering. Continued clashes between protesters and pro-govt forces; since protest movement began 39 people have been killed and 2,041 placed in detention facilities, half still with probationary measures. Security forces deployed 17 March on Plaza Altamira in Caracas, but rapidly outnumbered by peaceful civilian protesters from surrounding neighbourhoods. Govt’s “peace conference” and truth commission set up in Feb failed to incorporate radicals or moderates from opposition Democratic Unity (MUD) alliance. FMs from Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) visited Caracas 25-27 March, met with opposition groups as well as govt. Immediately after UNASUR’s 12 March decision to send mission, Maduro announced he would take “drastic measures” to end protests; announcement followed by deployment of National Guard in Caracas, arrest of mayors of San Cristobal (Táchira) and San Diego (Valencia), stripping of parliamentary immunity for MUD legislator Maria Corina Machado with view to prosecuting her for murder of political violence victims, and arrest of 3 air force generals for alleged coup plot. Vatican 28 March announced it is willing to facilitate peaceful resolution of crisis; Maduro said govt would accept its mediation.

Mexico

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

Govt 9 March confirmed Nazario Moreno González, leader of Knights Templar cartel in Michoacán state, killed in shootout with federal forces; authorities said fingerprint analysis confirmed identity of Moreno, who was also reported dead in 2010. Authorities said federal forces seized 119,000 tons of illegally-obtained iron ore since taking over port of Lázaro Cárdenas Nov 2013; illegal mining a main source of cartel income. State officials 11 March arrested key “self-defence” leader Hipólito Mora in Michoacán for allegedly murdering 2 members of rival vigilante group. National Security Commissioner Manuel Mondragón y Kalb, who oversees federal police forces, resigned 17 March citing “personal reasons”. Tanhuato mayor Gustavo Garibay shot dead in Michoacán state 22 March.

Guatemala

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

Govt 18 March extradited suspected drug lord Waldemar Lorenzana to U.S. to face cocaine smuggling charges. Former President Portillo 18 March pleaded guilty in New York to money-laundering charges, nearly 3 years after acquittal on similar charges in Guatemala. Attorney General Paz y Paz 7 March announced decision to seek another term in office, filing paperwork before nominating commission that will submit candidates to president for final selection; her 4-year term was cut short by Feb technical Constitutional Court ruling, criticised by some human rights groups as payback for prosecuting former dictator José Efraín Ríos Montt on genocide charges. Trial of former Revolutionary Organisation of the People in Arms (ORPA) commander Felipe Solano Barillas, aka “Lieutenant David”, began 27 Feb; Solano accused of murder and war crimes in connection with 1988 massacre of 22 people in Chimaltenango dept.

Haiti

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

President Martelly said long-delayed senatorial and municipal elections, initially due 2011, “could take place in summer”; opposition parties appeared sceptical of president’s commitment to polls. UN Independent Expert on Human Rights in Haiti 2 March said UN “should be first to honour” principle of compensation for victims of rights violations; victims’ lawyers demanding $100,000 compensation for every person who died, $50,000 for each who became ill from cholera epidemic blamed on UN peacekeepers; UN argued it is immune from such claims under Convention on Privileges and Immunities.

Venezuela

  |  1 Mar 2014

Deteriorated Risk Alert

Month saw biggest anti-govt demonstrations in years as students took to streets across country; over dozen killed in clashes with security forces, scores injured; hundreds arrested, most subsequently released. Over 500 complaints of abuses by security services according to rights groups. Events threatening to further erode stability, human rights in already polarised nation. Demonstrations protesting violent crime, economic crisis began in San Cristobal city in SW state Táchira 2 Feb. Students backed by “La salida” movement, comprising wing of opposition alliance Democratic Unity (MUD), 12 Feb staged march to HQ of chief prosecutor Luisa Ortega Díaz to demand release of those jailed and protest food shortages, inflation, crime. Violence broke out between small group of demonstrators and armed civilian supporters of govt; 2 people died in initial clashes and third later, all shot in head. Over 300 reportedly detained over following week, 2 more killed; detainees reported beatings, torture, death threats, other abuses. Govt 16 Feb issued arrest warrant for Voluntad Popular (VP) party founder Leopoldo López accusing him of instigating violence, claimed opposition seeking violent overthrow of President Maduro. López 18 Feb turned himself in; called for protesters to stay in streets but remain non-violent; taken to military prison to await trial. As protests continued govt sent in riot squads accompanied by civilian gunmen; forces attacked protesters, destroyed and stole property. Govt 20 Feb sent troops to Táchira, threatened to declare state of emergency there. 3 U.S. diplomats given 48 hours to leave country 17 Feb for alleged involvement in supposed conspiracy. Govt 27 Feb issued arrest warrant for second opposition leader Carlos Vecchio, also from VP party. 

Guatemala

  |  1 Mar 2014

Unchanged

High-risk court 21 Feb sentenced 9 Zetas drug cartel members to more than 100 years’ prison for May 2011 massacre of 27 farm workers in Petén department. Gunmen 8 Feb killed 9, including 2 children, in San Luis village, Petén, highlighting violence in border regions. Constitutional Court 5 Feb ruled Attorney General Claudia Paz y Paz must step down in May, 7 months before completing 4-year term; local and international rights groups condemned ruling, saying it was engineered by those opposed to high-profile prosecutions of former officials on human rights charges.

Mexico

  |  1 Mar 2014

Unchanged

Federal authorities 4 Feb said army in Michoacán state registered 523 “self-defence” militia members and 813 weapons. Under pact signed with federal govt, some “self-defence” leaders promised to join rural and municipal police, others rejected agreement. Prosecutor’s office 10 Feb confirmed investigation into human remains found in Coahuila state near U.S. border; media reported mass graves possibly contain hundreds of corpses. Clash between armed groups 21 Feb reportedly left at least 20 dead in S Guerrero. Govt 22 Feb announced arrest of world’s most wanted drug lord, Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, in Mazatlán. 

Colombia

  |  1 Mar 2014

Unchanged

20th cycle of negotiations ended 13 Feb with parties claiming they “worked non-stop” on construction of agreement on illicit drug problem. Weekly news magazine Semana 3 Feb revealed military intelligence running covert operations under code-name “Andrómeda” against number of targets including govt’s chief negotiator in Havana and High Commissioner for Peace. Defence minister next day dismissed army’s chief of intelligence and head of technical intelligence. Semana 16 Feb published details of alleged corruption network within army; evidence from taped conversations also seemed to confirm that corrupt or diverted monies benefited some officers sentenced for involvement in extrajudicial executions. President Santos 18 Feb fired head of armed forces Gen Leonardo Barrero, recorded advising to “organise mafia” in effort to put pressure on prosecutors and stop human rights investigations. Presidential candidate of left-wing Patriotic Union Aída Avella suffered attack 23 Feb in Tame (Arauca); After initial denial, ELN took responsibility, apologised. 25 Feb bomb attack in Quibdó (Chocó), carried out by unknown perpetrators, left 4 dead, 10 injured. Santos 24 Feb named former Interior Minister Germán Vargas Lleras as running mate for May electoral contest. “We are Defenders” coalition annual report noted increase in killings of human rights defenders to 78 in 2013.

Guatemala

  |  1 Feb 2014

Unchanged

Authorities 11 Jan seized private plane with Costa Rican registration carrying nearly half a tonne of cocaine, reportedly belonging to Sinaloa cartel, in NE Izabal dept. Appeals court 10 Jan affirmed lower court ruling that would nullify not only trial but also indictment of General José Efraín Ríos Montt for genocide and war crimes thereby further delaying retrial, already postponed till Jan 2015. President Pérez Molina dropped criminal complaint filed in Dec against editor of daily elPeriodico José Ruben Zamora, though indicated 10 Jan he would ask special media tribunal to investigate alleged misconduct. VP Baldetti pursuing separate complaint against Zamora for “psychological violence” before court specialising in crimes against women. Joint police/military operation 10 Jan in 6 departments detained 37 people accused of operating smuggling ring.

Venezuela

  |  1 Feb 2014

Unchanged

High-profile murder of former Miss Venezuela Mónica Spears and ex-partner 6 Jan forced politicians to intensify efforts toward solving country’s chronic insecurity crisis: President Maduro 8 Jan met with opposition governors of Miranda and Lara states Henrique Capriles and Henri Falcón and other state governors and mayors of 79 most crime-affected municipalities to work on “national pacification law”, to be finalised within month. Maduro 9 Jan announced changes to political and military leadership: 7 ministers, including industry, labour and education, replaced, General Gregorio Bernal Martínez appointed new head of Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (Sebin). Maduro also named retired military Manuel Eduardo Pérez Urdaneta and Ronald Blanco La Cruz as new director of National Police and head of National Security University (UNES) respectively, raising concerns over long-term fate of civilian police reform underway since 2009.

Mexico

  |  1 Feb 2014

Unchanged

Interior Minister Osorio Chong 8 Jan vowed to reestablish order in Michoacán state, where local vigilante groups have clashed with alleged members of Knights Templars drug cartel since early 2013; Chong said federal and state forces would jointly patrol Tierra Caliente region. Soldiers sent to disarm vigilantes in Antúnez town reportedly opened fire 13 Jan, killing at least 2. Govt 14 Jan named federal commissioner Alfredo Castillo to coordinate security in Michoacán, 27 Jan said federal forces had arrested 110 people in 12 days, including Knights Templar leader Dionisio Loya Plancarte aka “El Tío”. Govt and self defence groups 27 Jan signed agreement to integrate vigilantes into legal security units called Rural Defence Corps. Army and police forces early-month retook control over prison in Guerrero state after gunfight left 9 people dead. Chihuahua State Attorney General’s Office 15 Jan announced arrest of Ángel Salvador Taboada Villanueva aka “el Conejo” in connection with March 2011 murder of Juan Francisco Sicilia, son of poet-turned-activist Javier Sicilia. Govt 28 Jan announced creation of Anti-Kidnapping Unit to coordinate efforts at local and federal levels. Security forces 30 Jan captured Jalisco New Generation drug cartel’s second-in-command Ruben Oseguera Gonzalez aka “El Menchito”.

Colombia

  |  1 Feb 2014

Unchanged

19th round of peace talks between govt and FARC ended 23 Jan; negotiations to restart 3 Feb; FARC 14 Jan published detailed proposal for state-funded “National Programme to Substitute Illicit Uses of Coca, Poppy and Marijuana Crops”, drawing on ideas already formulated during ill-fated 2002 Caguán talks, including suspension of aerial fumigation, community-driven alternative development plans, creation of legal market for coca, poppy and marijuana crops. Month-long unilateral FARC ceasefire ended 15 Jan; violations occurred, but generally well-respected. 1 killed, over 60 injured in FARC motorcycle bomb attack in Pradera (Valle) 16 Jan; unusually strongly-worded Secretariat communiqué 23 Jan acknowledged attack, expressed “rejection and disapproval” for high civilian impact. Military reacted with offensive killing 27 FARC fighters and capturing 21 19-22 Jan. Prosecutor General Alejandro Ordóñez 13 Jan rejected appeal against Dec decision to remove Bogotá mayor Gustavo Petro from office; several Bogotá court decisions subsequently suspended removal, offering lifeline for Petro to stay in office until 2 March recall referendum. According to list published 18 Jan by left-wing movement Patriotic March, 29 members killed between April 2012-Jan 2014; 3 members allegedly forcefully disappeared. Conservative Party thrown into turmoil over 26 Jan convention decision to elect former defence minister Marta Lucía Ramírez as candidate for May presidential poll.

Guatemala

  |  2 Jan 2014

Unchanged

Head of Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) Ivan Velásquez 5 Dec said commission will initiate investigations of corruption in customs and political campaign financing; means commission will take on new cases despite assertions by president and VP that it should devote last 2 years of its mandate to training prosecutors and investigators. Elite Tecún Umán Task Force began operations in west 16 Dec; President Pérez Molina said joint military/police force will combat drug traffickers and other smugglers operating along Pacific coast and Mexican border, said plans to create 2 more task forces operating along borders with El Salvador and Honduras. Pérez Molina 17 Dec announced govt studying possibility of legalising and regulating cultivation of opium poppies for medicinal use, would allow “controlled planting” while offering alternative crops to farmers now involved in illegal production. Authorities 27 Dec arrested Edgar Rolando Saguil, lieutenant of Felix Pimentel Lopez, himself arrested 8 Dec, on suspicion of links to Sinaloa cartel.

Venezuela

  |  2 Jan 2014

Unchanged

8 Dec municipal elections saw opposition MUD alliance make important advances, especially in big cities; MUD held metropolitan Caracas and Maracaibo and won Valencia and Barquisimeto, now controls 9 of 23 state capitals, plus greater Caracas including 4 of 5 Caracas municipalities. But controversial bid to turn election into plebiscite on President Maduro’s govt via national vote total backfired: ruling PSUV obtained almost 49% of votes, MUD less than 41%. MUD leadership insisting country split and govt lacks mandate for radical political and economic programs, also pointed to unfair election conditions and Maduro’s Nov move to force down retail prices.

Colombia

  |  2 Jan 2014

Unchanged

Peace talks between govt and FARC continued with discussions centred on illegal drugs; FARC 3 Dec presented 10 “minimal proposals” for counter drug policy, calling for immediate halt of areal fumigation, adoption of public health focus and stimulation of traditional, medical and industrial uses of coca leaf, marihuana and poppy. Talks concluded for year 20 Dec, set to resume 13 Jan. FARC 8 Dec announced unilateral 30-day ceasefire effective 15 Dec-15 Jan; 4 alleged violations occurred by 23 Dec. President Santos declared military offensive against guerrillas “will continue” following 7 Dec attack on police station in Inzá (Cauca) which left 9 dead, 40 injured. Prosecutor General 9 Dec dismissed Bogotá mayor and former M19 guerrilla member Gustavo Petro over allegations of “incompetence” and violating free enterprise principles in 2012 row with private garbage collectors; Petro also banned from holding public office for 15 years. FARC 10 Dec slammed decision as “heavy blow” for peace process. Talks with ELN again appeared to move closer; ELN 1 Dec released engineer abducted in Antioquia dept July 2012, 24 Dec released kidnapped oil worker in Arauca dept. ELN commander Gabino said group had accepted as “challenge” to negotiate without ceasefire, but later retracted. Ombudsman’s Office 11 Dec said clashes between ELN and NIAG Urabeños in Chocó dept could cause displacement of 1,900 residents. Police closing in on Urabeños leader Otoniel with 12 Dec detention of cousin and sister. Security forces 27 Dec killed at least 10 FARC, including regional commander Jhon 26, in Meta dept. UN 30 Dec accused FARC of continuing to recruit children.

Mexico

  |  2 Jan 2014

Unchanged

Attorney General revealed names of 69 top drug traffickers arrested or killed in President Peña Nieto’s first year of govt from list of 122. Human Rights Commissioner Raúl Plascencia 17 Dec warned local vigilante groups gaining strength in Pacific state of Guerrero, armed groups operate in over half of state’s municipalities. New guerrilla group Revolutionary Armed Forces-People’s Liberation (FAR-LP) appeared in Guerrero early month, demanded release of “political prisoners”, asked people to take up arms against “oppressive govt”. Authorities continued to find bodies buried near border between Jalisco and Michoacán states; 64 bodies found so far in search initiated to find 2 federal agents who went missing early Nov; 10 burned bodies found 14 Dec inside car in indigenous community troubled by land disputes in Oaxaca state; 5 decapitated bodies found in Michoacan state 28 Dec, believed to be victims of Jalisco New Generation drug cartel. 4 municipal officers from Arcelia town, Guerrero killed in clash with army 6 Dec. Mayor-elect of San Pedro Totolapan town, Oaxaca state killed by gunmen outside city hall 5 Dec. Gonzalo Inzunza Inzunza, alias El Macho Prieto, high-ranking leader of Sinaloa Cartel killed 18 Dec in shoot-out with security forces in northern Mexico resort.

Bolivia

  |  1 Dec 2013

Unchanged

Govt’s long-awaited study on domestic coca use said legal demand 20,690 metric tons, requiring 14,705ha of cultivation; compared with current legal limit of 12,000ha, 20,000ha demanded by coca growers, 25,300ha under cultivation in 2012.

 

Venezuela

  |  1 Dec 2013

Unchanged

President Maduro mid-month announced prices of electrical appliances unjustifiably high, ordered them reduced and told consumers to rush to shops and “leave nothing on shelves”; price controls subsequently extended to other consumer goods. Retail sector representatives warned it will be virtually impossible to maintain commercial operations. National Assembly 19 Nov approved law giving Maduro power to legislate by decree, primarily on economic matters, for 12 months, after govt removed opposition legislator on corruption charges. Local elections appeared set to go ahead 8 Dec despite fears govt would postpone poll. Opposition MUD seen as likely to make gains amid declining support in polls for ruling party, which is defending some 80% of municipalities. Govt decreed 8 Dec “Chavez loyalty day”, apparently planning to hold political rallies to coincide with poll in violation of electoral law. Tens of thousands of opposition supporters marched 23 Nov; MUD leader Capriles’ national tours coordinator arrested by military intelligence agents before marches started.

Guatemala

  |  1 Dec 2013

Unchanged

Security forces 12 Nov arrested 8 people for allegedly organising Oct escape of suspected drug boss José Ranferí Ponce Rodríguez. Govt sent hundreds of soldiers, police to Izabal dept to search for Ponce and allies; President Pérez Molina said suspect may have fled to Honduras. Spanish judge 4 Nov indicted former minister Carlos Roberto Vielmann for extrajudicial killing of 10 prisoners in 2005 and 2006. Unknown gunmen 28 Nov killed municipal council member in eastern city Jalapa.

Bolivia

  |  1 Nov 2013

Unchanged

Parliament 3 Oct approved controversial law changing number of legislative seats awarded to departments, strengthening legislative presence of wealthier eastern department Santa Cruz with 3 additional seats; 3 other departments, Chuquisaca, Potosí and Beni, lost 1 each. 4 people killed in 19 Oct clash between drug eradication team and coca growers in Apolo municipality, La Paz department; details unclear, coca growers said “provoked”, interior minister blamed Peruvian drug-trafficking gangs.

Mexico

  |  1 Nov 2013

Unchanged

National Public Security Council 16 Oct extended by one year deadline for purging and certifying local and federal police officers, second extension. Authorities early Oct arrested 18, including 13 federal police, suspected of involvement in Acapulco kidnapping ring. Gunmen 18 Oct killed Francisco Arrellano Félix, former drug cartel leader. 7 inmates killed in prison riot in Tamaulipas state 26 Oct. Clashes between self-defence groups from Michoacán state and Knights Templar drug cartel 26-27 Oct triggered shoot-out in centre of Apatzingán and attacks on regional power stations leaving hundreds of thousands without electricity; at least 1,000 soldiers deployed to region. Mexico 23 Oct underwent Universal Periodic Review by UN Human Rights Council; urged to rein in security forces and investigate disappearances.

Guatemala

  |  1 Nov 2013

Unchanged

Police 16 Oct captured then released 2 reputed drug traffickers in NE Izabal dept. Initial news reports stated authorities forced to flee after being attacked by crowd demanding men be released; newspaper elPeriodico suggested traffickers negotiated freedom. Authorities 22 Oct confiscated nearly 1 ton of cocaine during operation in Izabal. Mexican authorities 4 Oct captured Eduardo Villatoro Cano (“Guayo”), suspected of killing 9 police, 8 Oct arrested Gerardo Jaramillo (“El Yanqui”) who reportedly led gang linked to Mexican Zetas cartel. Finance Minister Pavel Centeno, who pushed for intervention to combat “mafias” controlling Guatemalan ports, resigned citing health issues. Following weeks of heavy criticism, govt 28 Oct backtracked on previous decision and carried out “operational intervention” consisting of military and police presence in 6 customs offices, under supervision of ministries of govt and defence and of tax authorities, amid complaints smuggling is undermining legitimate businesses. 

Venezuela

  |  1 Nov 2013

Unchanged

Finance Minister Nelson Merentes, seen as leading advocate of more flexible economic policy, stripped of role as “economic VP” early Oct and replaced by oil minister and chief of state-owned oil company Petróleos de Venezuela Rafael Ramirez. Ramirez’s appointment seen as strengthening hardliners led by Planning Minister Jorge Giordani who oppose détente with private sector, market economy. Rights activists voiced concern at revival of Strategic Center of Security and Homeland Protection, military-led body mandated to gather information on national security and determine which information should remain “restricted”.

Colombia

  |  1 Nov 2013

Unchanged

16th round of govt-FARC peace talks started 23 Oct with discussions still centred on political participation. With 2014 electoral cycle approaching fast, President Santos 8 Oct discussed with senators and representatives of his party whether to pause, continue or end negotiations, with majority of Congress supporting continuation of talks but parties yet to discuss option in Havana. Amid increased FARC attacks on military targets and energy infrastructure mainly in E and SE, Santos 9 Oct launched large-scale counter-insurgency initiative targeted at FARC’s southern strongholds; denied contradiction with peace talks. FARC released former U.S. marine Kevin Scott Sutay 27 Oct after 4 months’ captivity. ELN 14 Oct said its delegation for exploratory talks with govt has been “ready” for a year, but process has not gone beyond “attempts to start”. Regional leader of New Illegal Armed Group Urabeños in Norte de Santander department “El Mico” surrendered and was captured alongside 17 members 23 Oct. Authorities 12 Oct arrested governor of La Guajira department Juan Francisco “Kiko” Gómez, accused of involvement in 1997 murder of local politician and 2 other killings. Convention of Democratic Centre movement led by former president Uribe 26 Oct elected former Finance Minister Óscar Iván Zuluaga as presidential candidate. Constitutional Court 23 Oct struck down over “procedural defects” constitutional reform and implementing legislation aimed at expanding military jurisdiction. Indigenous communities and govt 23 Oct signed agreement to boost judicial, administrative and political autonomy.

Mexico

  |  1 Oct 2013

Unchanged

Security forces 1 Sept arrested alleged leader of Juárez Cartel, Alberto Carrillo Fuentes alias “Ugly Betty”, in Nayarit state; 9 Sept arrested alleged leader of Los Rojos gang Leonor Nava Romero alias “La Garra” in Guerrero state. Tens of thousands joined protests against education and energy sector reforms in Mexico City; police 14 Sept used water cannons and tear gas to disperse protesters, 31 people arrested. 3 local lawmakers from leftist Party of Democratic Revolution (PRD) killed 10-13 Sept in separate attacks in Oaxaca and Michoacán states. Authorities 24 Sept arrested 3 more police suspected of involvement in May abduction and killing of 12 Mexico City bar patrons.

Venezuela

  |  1 Oct 2013

Unchanged

Govt 10 Sept announced decision to proceed with country’s withdrawal from Inter-American Court on Human Rights, prompting concern domestically and abroad. France seized more than 1.3 tons of cocaine on Air France flight from Venezuela; authorities jailed 22 people, including National Guard officials and airport staff. Govt 30 Sept announced expulsion of 3 U.S. diplomats accused of plotting to sabotage economy.

Haiti

  |  1 Oct 2013

Unchanged

Organization of American States said it is preparing to send mission to Haiti to help observe 2-year delayed partial Senatorial elections, but doubts remained on possibility to hold elections as promised before end-2013. Legislative proposals for impeachment of president and PM complicating hopes for compromise. Several thousand supporters of former president Aristide demonstrated against President Martelly in capital Port-au-Prince 30 Sept.

Guatemala

  |  1 Oct 2013

Unchanged

UN 12 Sept named former Colombian magistrate Iván Velásquez next head of International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG); outgoing commissioner Francisco Dall’Anese 22 Aug credited CICIG with helping Guatemala lower impunity rates from 93% to 70% over past 6 years. Gunmen 7 Sept opened fire on residents of Maya town N of Guatemala City, killing 11 and injuring about 15; authorities blamed gang members allegedly angry because local bars refused to sell them liquor, but media reported some residents suspected corrupt police responsible for killings. Police 17 Sept captured son of Waldemar Lorenzana Lima, alias “Patriarch”, arrested in 2011 and fighting extradition to U.S. on drug-trafficking charges.

Colombia

  |  1 Oct 2013

Unchanged

New cycle of govt-FARC peace negotiations ended 19 Sept amid increasing tensions; talks to resume 3 Oct. President Santos 24 Sept said before UNGA peace will not lead to impunity for serious crimes, also called for faster negotiation results as “time for decisions” had come. In reaction, FARC leader Timochenko 25 Sept slammed Santos for supposedly “unilaterally imposing” restrictions on talks. Security forces 25 Sept killed high-ranking member of FARC’s Daniel Aldana mobile column in Tumaco, Nariño. VP Garzón 9 Sept announced peace talks with ELN would begin “over next days and in different place to Havana”, but new setback 10 Sept when ELN allegedly kidnapped 3 pipeline workers in Saravena, Arauca. ELN 30 Sept reaffirmed willingness to participate in peace talks. Santos 4 Sept announced cabinet reshuffle, replacing inter alia embattled interior and agriculture ministers; 12 Sept presented “National Agrarian Pact” to confront agrarian crisis, but initiative rejected by peasant grassroots. Amid social protests, Santos approval ratings down to 21%. Former President Uribe 16 Sept announced he will run as head of list for Senate in March 2014 elections.

Haiti

  |  1 Sep 2013

Unchanged

Senate committee investigating death of judge Jean-Serge Joseph who had launched corruption investigation against President Martelly’s wife and son 8 Aug called for President Martelly to be charged with high treason and PM and justice minister to resign, stating executive had interfered with judicial process.

Mexico

  |  1 Sep 2013

Unchanged

Security forces 17 Aug captured suspected leader of Gulf cartel Mario Armando Ramírez Treviño alias El Pelón or X-20 in Tamaulipas state; reinforced security along country’s north-eastern border. Army 23 Aug captured Gregorio Abeja Linares, suspected leader of Knights Templar cartel in Michoacán state. U.S. 14 Aug requested extradition of Rafael Caro Quintero 5 days after court overturned his 40-year sentence for killing of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent. 40 members of self-defence group from Aquila, Michoacán arrested 14 Aug on weapons charges. Sandra Ávila Beltrán, alias Queen of the Pacific, deported 20 Aug from U.S. to Mexico to face money-laundering charges. Authorities 17 Aug found 16 bodies in Guerrero state, including 5 wearing military-style clothes; another 9 bodies with signs of torture found same day in Michoacán state. National Security Commissioner Manuel Mondragón y Kalb 27 Aug announced Gendarmerie will begin operations July 2014.

Guatemala

  |  1 Sep 2013

Unchanged

President Pérez Molina 20 Aug announced creation of task force to probe murders of 4 journalists over past 5 months. All killings plus attempted murder of 5th in early Aug were attacks on journalists working for local media outside capital. Constitutional Court (CC) 6 Aug rejected new petition for amnesty by lawyers of former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt, ruled genocide and war crimes ineligible for amnesty under Guatemalan and international law. Authorities late-July deployed some 1,000 forces in joint police-military task force “Operation Dignity” to hunt for drug boss accused of masterminding June killing of 9 police agents: security forces mid-Aug reported 37 people arrested, dozens of weapons and vehicles seized.

Colombia

  |  1 Sep 2013

Unchanged

13th cycle of govt-FARC peace negotiations ended 28 Aug with discussions still centred on political participation. Talks had been suspended 23-25 Aug as FARC studied implications of 22 Aug govt draft legislation to allow referendum on possible peace agreement to coincide with 2014 national elections. Parties 26 Aug called for organisation of public discussions in Sept on illegal drugs, 4th agenda point. FARC 20 Aug recognised for first time it had caused “pain”. FARC 24 Aug reportedly killed 14 soldiers in Arauca department. President Santos 28 Aug said he was ready to start peace talks with National Liberation Army (ELN), after it released Canadian hostage after 7 months’ captivity 27 Aug. Constitutional Court 28 Aug approved Legal Framework for Peace while setting certain “interpretation parameters” regarding prosecution of serious crimes. “National Agrarian Strike” began 19 Aug. Santos 30 Aug ordered 50,000 military to guarantee mobility throughout country in reaction to violent protests 29 Aug which media said left 5 dead and 250 injured. 2-month peasant strike in Catatumbo region stopped after 2 Aug agreement to hold negotiations; first agreement on drug eradication reached 28 Aug.

Venezuela

  |  1 Sep 2013

Unchanged

Supreme Court (TSJ) 8 Aug dismissed appeal against presidential elections results presented by opposition leader Henrique Capriles because allegations were “generic and vague”; Capriles said not surprised by decision, reiterated intention to appeal to international courts. Following 11 Aug announcement by attorney general Luisa Ortega Díaz that 50 people had been arrested and 53 charged with corruption-related offences, President Maduro said would ask National Assembly for legislative powers to combat corruption; opposition called new anti-corruption drive politically-motivated “witch hunt”.

Venezuela

  |  1 Aug 2013

Unchanged

Govt 23 July said ending talks to restore relations with U.S. in protest at remarks by UN ambassador-designate Samantha Power that civil society experiencing crackdown in Venezuela. President Maduro 5 July made public offer of asylum to fugitive U.S. whistle-blower Edward Snowden. Maduro continued to work to establish authority over military; rival national assembly chairman Diosdado Cabello also continued efforts to expand influence. Head of daily El Nacional accused govt of trying to silence it.

Colombia

  |  1 Aug 2013

Unchanged

FARC chief negotiator Iván Márquez 15 July expressed confidence country is nearing end of conflict, however FARC ambush in Arauca dept 20 July left 15 soldiers dead, prompting President Santos to order army “not to stop shooting” until conflict over. Constitutional Court 25 July held hearing on constitutionality of Legal Framework for Peace; judgment expected Aug. Speaking at hearing, Santos acknowledged state responsibility for violations of rights and IHL during conflict. Report released by govt’s Historical Memory Group found 218,094 Colombians killed by armed conflict 1958-2012, 80% of victims civilians. Prosecutor General’s Office 29 July confirmed army executed over 3,900 civilians since 1986 to inflate apparent success in fight against leftist rebels. State Council 9 July ruled Patriotic Union party, established as part of previous peace process and which lost legal status in 2002, can again run candidates for office beginning in 2014 elections. FARC chief Timochenko and National Liberation Army (ELN) commander Gabino 1 July issued joint communiqué calling for ELN’s inclusion in peace talks but ELN 16 July rejected govt preconditions for talks. ELN 29 July said release of Canadian mining hostage forthcoming, as Braeval Mining Corporation reportedly preparing to return mining titles to local communities. FARC 19 July announced it was holding former U.S. serviceman captive since 20 June, pledged to release him as “gesture” towards peace talks. Tensions between peasant communities and security forces in Norte de Santander continued, 4 protester deaths reported; UNOHCHR 15 July criticised govt for alleged “excessive” use of force; Santos 16 July stated Colombia no longer needed presence of OHCHR, then agreed one-year extension of its mandate. Authorities 27 July captured 20 alleged members of New Illegal Armed Group (NIAG) “Los Rastrojos”; 2 police suspected of acting as informants.

Bolivia

  |  1 Aug 2013

Unchanged

Reports of significant drop in cocaine production in past year; authorities said 5,689ha of coca destroyed Jan-June 2013. Relations with U.S. and Europe deteriorated following 2 July grounding of President Morales’ plane in Austria on suspicion he was travelling with fugitive U.S. whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

Haiti

  |  1 Aug 2013

Unchanged

President Martelly denied involvement in 13 July death of judge who had investigated corruption charges against his wife and son; Senate ordered investigation. Group of international scientists studying deadly cholera epidemic concluded UN peacekeepers most likely source.

Guatemala

  |  1 Aug 2013

Unchanged

Authorities 22 July captured 2 more suspected members of criminal network linked to June killing of 9 police officers; said group, reportedly linked to Mexican Sinaloa cartel, may be responsible for over 100 homicides. President Pérez Molina 10 July said he will ask congress to consider imposing 2-year moratorium on new metal mining licences in apparent effort to calm tension in indigenous areas. Center for Legal Action in Human Rights said reports of extrajudicial killings increased from 279 in 2011 to 439 in 2012; National Forensic Science Institute reported violent deaths rose 8% in first half of 2013 compared with same period 2012.

Ecuador

  |  1 Aug 2013

Unchanged

Security forces 3 July intercepted arms shipment in El Oro, 29 June recovered 1 surface-to-air missile in Sucumbíos; military sources said intended recipients were Colombian armed groups operating near border.

Mexico

  |  1 Aug 2013

Unchanged

State and municipal elections held in 14 of 32 states 7 July saw violence against candidates, reports ahead of polls of attacks on campaign HQs and thefts of ballot boxes. Spate of attacks on federal police in Michoacán 23 July left at least 22 dead, including 2 police and 20 gunmen; 2,000 security agents sent to back up forces deployed in May. Navy 15 July arrested Miguel Ángel Treviño Morales alias Z-40, leader of Los Zetas criminal cartel, near U.S. border. Authorities 17 July rescued 81 Central American migrants kidnapped in Tamaulipas; same day found body of El Imparcial newspaper reporter; 18 July found 5 men burned to death inside abandoned truck on Saltillo-Monterrey highway; 29 July arrested 3 alleged members of Knights Templar drug cartel wanted for killing high-ranking navy officers. At least 7 human heads found 2 July in plastic bags on outskirts of Guadalajara.

Bolivia

  |  1 Jul 2013

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Coca growers in Apolo municipality 1 June briefly detained 5 members of Joint Task Force undertaking coca eradication. Clashes related to eradication efforts continued, including highway blockages in Bautista Saavedra province that suspended transport to and from La Paz.

Venezuela

  |  1 Jul 2013

Unchanged

President Maduro 5 June denied rumours of further large devaluation of bolivar, blamed “corrupt, fascist right-wing” forces within country for attempting to spread fear about economy. Following several postponements, govt set elections for mayors and councillors for 8 Dec 2013. National Electoral Council (CNE) 12 June announced it concluded audit of 14 April presidential election results and found no discrepancies; Supreme Court yet to announce if it will submit legal challenges to election. FM Jaua 5 June met U.S. Sec State Kerry at OAS General Assembly in Guatemala.


Guatemala

  |  1 Jul 2013

Unchanged

Gunmen 13 June attacked police station in Salcajá town, Quetzaltenango dept, killing 8 officers and kidnapping station chief: President Pérez Molina blamed drug traffickers linked to Mexican cartels. Authorities 13 June said they had identified 54 narco-trafficking groups that operate in-country and 70 criminal gangs. Organization of American States 4-6 June held general assembly in Antigua focused on drug policy reform, agreed to series of regional and national meetings culminating in extraordinary assembly on drug policy reform before end of 2014.

Mexico

  |  1 Jul 2013

Unchanged

Bodies of 3 left-wing activists, including local leader of Party of Democratic Revolution, found along road in Guerrero state 3 June. Armed group 4 June killed mayor in southern state Oaxaca. Mayoral candidate from ruling PRI party found dead 12 June, 2 days after being kidnapped. Gunmen in Oaxaca 27 June killed leader of left-wing Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) Nicolas Estrada, 29 June critically injured PRI politician Rosalia Palma. Mob burned 3 men alive in Chiapas state 4 June. Security forces 4 June rescued 165 migrants in Tamaulipas state and 58 migrants 12 June in Sonora state. Army 20 June took control of public safety in several municipalities in Durango state. Interior Secretary Osorio Chong said gendarmerie to have 5,000 members, half number previously reported.

Colombia

  |  1 Jul 2013

Unchanged

Peace negotiations between govt and FARC resumed 11 June to discuss 2nd agenda item, political participation. Govt’s chief negotiator Humberto de la Calle 13 June confirmed agreement would centre on steps to create legal, sustainable political presence for guerrillas. FARC 19 June submitted 10 “minimum” proposals for eventual agreement, including guarantees of political representation, participation of marginalised communities, rights for political opposition, also called for popular election of positions such as Attorney General and Prosecutor General. Major point of contention is FARC demand for achieving structural reform of state through constituent assembly, which govt rejects. Protests over coca eradication and peasants reservations turned violent in Norte de Santander’s Catatumbo region; 4 people killed.

Ecuador

  |  1 Jul 2013

Unchanged

Interior Minister Serrano 3 June said global war on drugs has failed, decriminalising drug use is logical policy response to problems associated with narco-trafficking; also said Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel is only foreign trafficking group with significant operations in Ecuador.

Mexico

  |  1 Jun 2013

Unchanged

President Peña Nieto met with U.S. President Obama 2 May to discuss security, trade and education; Obama pledged to continue cooperation despite recent restriction of access to drug intelligence for U.S. agents. Army and federal police 20 May arrived in Michoacán state in security operation against self-defence groups, organised crime. Attorney General Murillo Karam and Interior Minister Osorio Chong 17 May pledged to create special unit for missing persons. Attacks on press continued: gunmen 7 May killed press officer Cuauhtémoc Sánchez Arreola in Nayarit; El Mañana suffered cyber-attacks; author of Blog del Narco known as “Lucy” fled country following threats. Murders attributed to organised crime continued: 6 bodies found 4 May along highway in Sinaloa; 7 bodies found 5 May inside car in Mexico City suburb; 4 killed 9 May in attack against public security director Jesús Carrasco in Sinaloa; 6 killed during shoot-out at car dealership in Chihuahua 14 May; 2 men found hanging in Limón de Luna community, Michoacán.

Guatemala

  |  1 Jun 2013

Unchanged

Following sentencing of former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt on 10 May to 80 years’ prison for genocide and crimes against humanity, Constitutional Court 20 May overturned conviction on procedural grounds. UN Committee against Torture 31 May denounced continued impunity and govt’s failure to investigate rights violations during civil war, said govt should enforce Law on National Reconciliation and ensure authors of acts of genocide, torture are not granted amnesties. President Pérez Molina 2 May sent army into 4 municipalities in eastern depts of Jalapa and Santa Rosa after residents took 23 police hostage; authorities said 1 police officer killed during attempt to rescue hostages.

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CrisisWatch N°128

Read the latest edition of CrisisWatch in full.